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View Full Version : Artists: How much reference do you use?


William Blankenship
08-01-2006, 10:11 PM
What percentage of the time are you referencing from photos and such? No sense in being specific, just round to the nearest 5-10 percentage point.

Pens&Pixels
08-01-2006, 11:29 PM
10-15%, but I should really use more.

Jason Copland
08-02-2006, 01:12 AM
Yeah, I'm around 10-15%, too. And, yeah, I should be using more reference than that.

The Predator
08-02-2006, 02:22 AM
I use a lot. 30- 40%. If I want a Corvette - 87 in my comic I really want it to look like a real one with all details. Same with buildings cause there are details I never tought of with out references. I also think its more fun that way.
The Predator

Eliseu Gouveia
08-02-2006, 04:49 AM
Depends on the project, I remember this book I did about the Pre-Historic Engravings of Foz Ga where I spend at least 50% of the time looking at encyclopedias.

Superheroes too require some references, mostly guns (I dont really know exactly what an M60 looks like :p ). and cars (aside from the volkswagen beetle which blueprints are engraved in my brain, most cars I draw are usually from my miniature car collection :har: ).

Edit: Ive actually started collecting toys now, at the age of 35 because of this.
I have an F-14 (can draw it by heart by now), an F/A-18, a Ducati and around 50 cars (mostly luxury models - it was a promo-)

Ingrid K. V. Hardy
08-02-2006, 07:07 AM
Really depends on the project. If I'm doing book illustrations around the subject of horses - maybe 10-15% of the time. I am doing different projects right now - historical, so I need some accurate references from the 17-18 centuries, - technical (something I don't often get) so that takes a bit more maybe 70%, as accuracy is number 1 in tech work and I don't always know what a particular bone in a hoof looks like, - and an a short comic book ( which is completely new and I'm having a ball) and I am using about 40% reference for that, mostly for guns and buildings, so far. And feet. I'm not friends with feet yet.

albone
08-02-2006, 10:03 AM
A ton, as much as possible.

chowmeingott
08-02-2006, 10:14 AM
too much reference. but if i want the undercarriage of an armored car i'm drawing to look like an armored car undercarriage, and not like a shitty high school prop i hit the internet, or look thru my files. besides that's one of the first things an editor would/should find, yes?

Eliseu Gouveia
08-02-2006, 10:44 AM
The problem with using reference is that if you use too much, you end up a slave of your reference photos and images and it stops being your work and your style.

Scott Story
08-02-2006, 11:47 AM
It varies by project, but just enough to get by.l

Toys are great, because you can hold them at any angle that you need.

joshm
08-02-2006, 11:48 AM
At the moment I'm working on a project where I have to draw scenes of people in a ballroom, so I'm referencing this; however, I am not sticking to any design I find, but rather using many different aspects of different ball rooms and shaping the ballroom as I need. I'm not using any references for the people, as they have been already designed so I know what they look like already (since I didnt create them I did reference what they look like). I might reference some ballroom dresses and what not. I'd say Im doing about 40% referencing here. When I was doing my Night Tracker sequential pages I didn't do a lot of referencing, as this story is set in the future. I just made up stuff, and referenced NYC a little. An average I use about 20% to 40%.

Josh

uncle wya
08-02-2006, 11:56 AM
100%. It's all traced baby!

dano
08-02-2006, 12:16 PM
After i read a script i make a list of all the things in that script that I'll need to reference and I'll take a day to go get it. Cars, guns, boats, specific buildings or landmarks, particular clothes if I'm feeling saucy, set ups of convenience stores, etc. If theres a difficult pose/angle that i can't take a pic of myself in I have one of those poser programs.
It's always good to have some kind of reference to glance at and expand upon so that you can draw a convincing image.

To varying degree I use ref 30-55% depending on how important accuracy is in the story.

I own a handful of gun replicas, and a small fleet of to-scale diecast cars of various makes/models. Those are two things that come up most frequently so i just buy them. I keep recent issues of clothing catalogues. Stuff like that.

sgm
08-02-2006, 12:24 PM
More than Wya.






And I swipe from him too. :nyah:

Scaleyinx
08-02-2006, 01:03 PM
Typically, I use about 25-45%. I have the fortune of having access to many live models, especially Martial artists and wrestlers. I love asking two fighters their opinions on strategy, because they will spend an hour or more arguing and demonstrating their ideas of the best moves.

In regards to guns, I just ask my hubby, he's the expert collector. I don't know the difference between a Barretta or a Browning :p .

Also, I do as Dano, by collecting small die-cast cars, motorcycles, and military vehicles, and at times have been known to disassemble toy model parts and rebuild them into something more unique. I've even assembled Dollhouse furniture parts and vehicle parts together into an assemblage.

dano
08-02-2006, 01:15 PM
I also have a habit of researching. Like if the story takes place in Xtown X state I'll google the hell out of it to read up on its stats, town history, notable landmarks or famous tidbits. If theres pictures of the place it'll give you a handle on the type of trees and vegitation, the dominant architecture style, the class of citizens, blah blah blah...

chaosgoat
08-02-2006, 01:55 PM
I'm still at the point were I'm learning to use reference effectively, but I like to use it alot for technical things. Vehicles and weapons, obviously, and for locations and backgrounds. I have whole pages of just plant references, and books full of period clothing. I hoard photos of interesting poses, too. Poses and costumes are my favorites, really.

aidirisuto
08-02-2006, 07:57 PM
For my current 2 projects I haven't used any.

But I can forsee a need as I begin the next couple.

The kinda comic work i am currently doing is not based in our "recognizable" world. So I use my own recollection of objects and items.

But the newer projects I am planning to do take place in the real world.

I definetly can see myself needing to use photos and plenty of reference to gt it to feel tangible.

carriertone
08-03-2006, 08:13 PM
I agree that it depends on the project. Some projects don't require any at all, while others require extensive research and reference. The project I'm working on right now, due in part to it's overall style, requires quite a bit. I've gotten into taking my own photos, setting the scene, getting out props, etc. It's wonderful. It's still just reference though, a lot of it is made up as I work. I figure that the more research you do, the better. Just don't trace. Tracing is bad. Reference is great, but it's no substitute for imagination sometimes.

- C

Gwlister
08-17-2006, 02:06 AM
The problem with using reference is that if you use too much, you end up a slave of your reference photos and images and it stops being your work and your style.

I totally disagree. If it stops being your work, you're not using the references AS references, you're using them in place of your work. I use lots of references when drawing but I don't depend on the reference to BE the artwork.

References aren't shortcuts for drawing, they're to make you and your finished art look more professional and knowledgeable about the subject matter you've rendered. Its easy to tell when someone has just made something up in a drawing as opposed to using some critical thinking and made use of references. Don't cut corners.

shushubag
08-17-2006, 07:13 AM
LOL I tried to get out of using references by writing a whole new story where I could make up my own rules as I went along but damn it! I still need to use references. But I try to make it as little as possible.

I reference back to my own stuff alot though, because I forget alot.

Eliseu Gouveia
08-17-2006, 10:14 AM
I totally disagree. If it stops being your work, you're not using the references AS references, you're using them in place of your work. I use lots of references when drawing but I don't depend on the reference to BE the artwork.

References aren't shortcuts for drawing, they're to make you and your finished art look more professional and knowledgeable about the subject matter you've rendered. Its easy to tell when someone has just made something up in a drawing as opposed to using some critical thinking and made use of references. Don't cut corners.

True.

But its also true that everytime you draw from a photo reference you are following what that photo dictates.

Hence the use of the word "slave".

illojik
08-17-2006, 11:24 AM
probably 30-40%. sometimes much less, sometimes much more. I think each piece of art, or each project requires different amounts.